Category Archives: Psychological Development

Coaching: Distribution – Under Arm Roll

Part 4 – Under-Arm Roll Out

So to the final part of our journey on Distribution after previously looking at kicking (Dead ball kicking and Kicking from hands and throwing (Over Arm Throw, we now take a look at the Under-Arm Roll Out.

Like all of the distribution methods practice can make perfect and even though this is seen as the easiest of all 4 distribution methods it can still be rushed and guidance may be needed to our younger student Goalkeepers or even to just give a reminder of the basics to those more experienced Goalkeepers to hone their technique.

So as before, lets look at what is the right technique:

Figure 1

Again the basic technique is as easy as 1-2-3, in one smooth movement, like rolling a bowling ball…

The steps then are as follows:

  • Look at your target;
  • Hold the ball in your throwing hand, with the opposite foot forward (i.e. If you throwing hand is your right hand, place your left foot forward) as seen in Figure 1 – Step 1;
  • Moving the ball forward, start crouching down, with opposite foot still forward, and the rear leg now bending so that the knee eventually touches the floor;
  • Still moving the ball forward, with the throwing arm going past the now bent rear leg (almost brushing it) as per Figure 1 – Step 2;
  • Watching the ball now;
  • Rolling through along the ground and releasing, with the throwing arm carrying through in motion after release of the ball as per Figure 1 – Step 3;
  • After release of the ball look to your target; and
  • If required to promote follow through of the arm, get them to point at the target they have just rolled to afterwards.

To progress things there are some useful exercises that can be used:

  • Put balls (of different sizes) mounted on cones out at appropriate distances, and encourage them to knock these balls off the cones by rolling out; or
  • Again for that game scenario (and to encourage accuracy) get them to roll out to a target area – although unlike kicking and throwing, the distances this time are not as far… – Set out a box with marker cones on different parts of the field at appropriate distances. Having a coach/keeper/player in that box to collect the ball with hands/feet. If using another keeper they could work together rolling the ball to each other in boxes/target areas whilst you as a coach look on/or assist; and
  • Mix it up a bit, so they roll left and right… creating some movement from the Goalkeeper, maybe have more than one option for them on different parts of the field. Getting them to look for who to roll to before they roll out the ball or even get some communication going between Goalkeeper and outfield

Also, it is not set in stone to just practice one distribution technique in an exercise, so to really mix things up, you could set out targets at varying distances, or get target coach/keeper/player to move about encouraging different techniques. Meaning that they may need to Kicking from hands, Over Arm Throw, Under-Arm Roll Out, or even off the floor Dead ball kicking style… Which now starts to encourage the decision-making process (Psychological and Technical)…

This series was just 4 of the distribution techniques Goalkeepers can use. There are others, however these are the main ones that a young student Goalkeeper should learn. They will all need practice to improve on and again I stress for patience, as practice can eventually make perfect… The top Goalkeepers seen at Euro 2012 this month have all had to perfect their distribution techniques, and for them too, this did not happen overnight. It took years of practice. So no pressure, take your time and above all have fun doing it! 😉

Coaching: Distribution – Over Arm Throw

Part 3 – Over Arm Throw

So we previously looked at the two most commonly used distribution techniques which are based around kicking (Dead ball kicking and Kicking from hands However for distribution over shorter distances than with kicking a Goalkeeper may sometimes need to thorw the ball.

There are various types of technique to throw out the ball, each used to throw out to varying distances, such as the Javelin throw and the discuss throw. Although for young student keepers these can be hard to master and may be something to progress to in the future. For this blog though and for our young keepers we shall look at the easier technique, the Over Arm Throw.

So what is the right technique:

Figure 1 : Basic Technique

Again the basic technique is as easy as 1-2-3, that like Dead Ball Kicking or Kicking from Hands it is all in one smooth movement. Notice though from Figure 1 that it’s the arms doing all the work. However to ensure that throws are straighter, the arm throwing the ball will be the opposite arm to the leg placed forward (i.e. Right Arm Throw, Left leg forward). This is an easier technique though to master than kicking.

The steps then are as follows:

  • Figure 1 – Step 1 : The throwing arm will hold the ball behind their body, whilst the non-throwing arm points at the target (get them to point at where they need to throw);
  • Figure 1 – Step 2 : Not moving the non-throwing arm, move the throwing arm up and over the head;
  • Figure 1 – Step 3 : Again not moving the non-throwing arm, when the throwing arm moves through to the highest point release the ball from the hand. However even though ball is now released still continue moving the arm through the motion to also then point with this arm/finger at your target (pointing is only really for guidance when they are learning but still may be encouraged if a more experienced keeper is having trouble and needs to re-focus).

That is it – very simple. Although to progress things there are some useful exercises that can be used:

  • Again like previously mentioned in the previous two distribution posts, use the ‘Cross-Bar Challenge’, to encourage height, distance and accuracy – Challenging them to throw and hit the cross-bar from varying (appropriate) distances (penalty spot, 18 yard box, half way line); and
  • May be add targets to the cross-bar to hit; or
  • Put balls mounted on cones out at appropriate distances, so you can then encourage variety in the throwing. That instead of throwing at the highest point the release now needs to be later to be able to throw out lower (i.e in a match to throw out to your players feet rather than to throw over the top); or
  • Again for that game scenario (and to encourage accuracy) get them to throw out to a target area – Setting out a box with marker cones on different parts of the field at appropriate distances. Having a coach/keeper/player in that box to collect the ball with hands/feet. If using another keeper they could work together throwing the ball to each other in boxes/target areas whilst you as a coach look on/or assist; and
  • Mix it up a bit, so they throw short and long, left and right… creating some movement from the keeper, maybe have more than one option for them on different parts of the field. Getting them to look for who to throw to before they throw out the ball or even get some communication going between Goalkeeper and outfield.

This is an easier distribution method than kicking, however it will still need some practice for effective throwing technique and accuracy.

Giving your young Goalkeepers training on different distribution techniques though, will give them more options to deliver a ball. You are also starting to introduce them to decision-making (Psychological), where sometimes they can decide that they may need a different technique to get the ball to their player… by throwing out the ball rather than to kick all the time, especially if the ball doesn’t need to go as far.

Final call to vote in the Goalkeeper Development Poll

The Goalkeeper Development Poll is still open.

After a number of votes already cast Psychology and Technique are the early leaders… Is this what you think is important in developing goalkeepers? What about their Social and Physical Development too? Or if you are stuck on which you think is more important and that it is all 4, then how much time must we as coaches focus on each?

Let me know what you think and if you wish to write an article for the blog on any of these aspects and how you coach for them, please add a comment and your email address.

Thank you

Si 😉

Goalkeeper Development Poll

A number of blog posts on this blog and the coaching techniques used at the Worcester Goalkeeper Academy, focus on Goalkeeper Development, however even though all four of the ‘FA four corner model’ development types are coached on, I have never really asked the question to my followers of what they think. All types are important in their own way, but there must be one that my followers think is more prominent, the one that perhaps us coaches should focus more on…. So what do you think, time for a poll:

Of which of the following Goalkeeper Development types do you think is the most important in developing Goalkeepers?

If possible please can you leave your comments as to why.

If you need further information on each of these types please refer to previous posts:

Thank you

Si 😉

The Worcester Goalkeeper Academy has kicked off the new season in style

Since the Worcester Goalkeeper Academy started back in September, we have seen an upsurge in attendance. Not only with a big influx of new Goalkeepers but also new coaches.

The reputation of the Academy is starting to spread… It is a reputation built on quality, that we are there to develop all aspects of the Goalkeeper, preparing them for their club football matches, technically, physically, socially and psychologically.

Don’t just take our word for it, we have had Managers and Parents feedback to us on how much they have seen their Goalkeeper improve, with one recently picking up the Player of the Match award!


But it isn’t just the Goalkeepers that we are attracting, as this season sees 5 new coaches in the academy. This means that we can provide much more focussed time with our Goalkeepers, with many of them benefitting from 1 to 1 and 1 to 2 coaching sessions, meaning that they get even more training time to develop their skills.

If you are a Goalkeeper looking to develop your skills in a focussed environment or a Coach looking to develop Goalkeepers (must have as a minimum: CRB, Safeguarding and First Aid), please contact us via:

Why the new FA youth development plan is good news for Goalkeeper development

The new FA rules for player development have had mixed reviews but are they really that bad and could they actually be beneficial. Here’s my opinion on why I think it’s good for young goalkeepers (and outfield too) – let me know what you think and if you agree with me…

The new development plan as stated on

Introducing 5v5 for U7s and U8s, with progression to 7v7 and then 9v9, allows the children to play on appropriate size pitches and with appropriate size goals.

The smaller pitch and number of players allows greater number of touches of the ball and involvement in the game, helping develop greater technical skills at a lower age.

The move will also bring a more child friendly approach to competition, breaking up the eight-month long adult based season into smaller periods of competition which encourage increased learning.

So my reasoning why this is good for youth goalkeeper development:

1/ Appropriate Size Goals

How many of our young Goalkeepers have seen themselves move up an age group and into goals that are just too big. That they then get demoralised seeing numerous more goals go past them because now the opposition has a greater target to shoot at… Yes, this is a greater challenge for a goalkeeper to overcome technically, but a harder challenge still for many Goalkeepers psychologically. So to putting them in appropriate size goals will benefit their confidence, rather than destroy it.

This also benefits the outfield player too, as they now must improve their technical abilities to try to get past a Goalkeeper in an appropriate size goal, rather than not necessarily improve their techniques (as seen with the previous format), as they have such a large target, meaning that outfield players would tend to just shoot at will, without actually having to be that accurate!

2/ Smaller Game Formats and evenly matched teams

By limiting team sizes at a smaller age on appropriately sized pitches will mean each player will get more time with the ball. That includes the goalkeeper as combining this with teams being equally matched should lead to more end-to-end action and therefore more shots on goal. Instead of the current game format, where either the action is limited because there are too many bodies on the pitch, or that the one team is far stronger than the other team with more action at only one end of the field. This current format can be quite tedious for players, especially Goalkeepers who get bored from lack of action.

3/ Everyone gets a chance/Appropriate coaching

Consider this:

  • What if there is a player not selected because the coach feels they are not as good as another player;
  • That this player is a slower developer than others;
  • That this player could with the right development, one day be better than that other player;
  • But because they do not get given the game/development time of the other player they never reach that potential or simply get frustrated and walk away from the game.

– That would be sad wouldn’t it…?

So really as my final point, this goes hand in hand with my previous two points, that coaching should now focus not only on the technique, but also giving everyone a chance to play football! Meaning that we should hopefully keep our kids interested and develop them correctly, allowing confidence and ability to build!

These are just some of the big reasons why I think the new FA Youth Development Plan will be great for not just future Goalkeepers but all future footballer  players. Let’s get behind it and get developing the potential stars of the future!

Vision technicians – Goalkeepers need to be observant!

Vision Technicians… No, not window cleaners… Great goalkeepers!

For Goalkeepers must watch the ball, watch the players, follow the game … Basically be observant of everything and alert at all times.

The Benefits:

  • Having such an alert Goalkeeper can help the team and as previously posted, they can communicate what they are observing round the pitch to the other players;
  • Watching the game can get the Goalkeeper in the right position in front of the goal;
  • As practiced this week at the Academy actually stopping and waiting at least just a couple of seconds to watch the flight of the ball will actually help the Goalkeeper judge what they need to do to either catch the ball (hands, feet, position etc) or re-position for a ball they aren’t likely to catch (balls over head and that for example, they may need to then get into position for a shot from the opposite side of goal…); and
  • Improving alertness, means improved reactions (technical AND psychological development). Reacting quicker to situations, to move into position quicker (see earlier points) or to stick out that all important, last second, hand or foot…
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Sometimes Goalkeeper play games that not much happens. For young goalkeepers it is easy for their minds to wander in games such as these. With them being caught out when at a moments notice the action is at their goal. It is easier to encourage older Goalkeepers to keep alert, but they too can be caught out in similar situations. So you have to feel for all Goalkeepers in matches with not much action, so keeping the Goalkeepers alert can therefore sometimes be a challenge…

So as coaches we could:

  • Encourage them to get them more involved with their team-mates, by getting them to watch/follow the game and issue instructions at the back, keeping them and their team-mates alert;
  • Get them to feedback at half-time, full-time and if appropriate through the game on theirs and their team’s performance – this could ensure the previous point; and
  • Coach techniques: to keep them observant; to encourage movement, handling and positioning; to remind them to wait momentarily, judging the flight of a ball before moving to catch a high ball…etc.

As a coach I too have to be observant – I shall keep an eye on how my Goalkeepers get on and if they improve! 😉

Goalkeeper Confidence

Here are a couple of sites to check out to find out further advice and guidance of how to keep confident and build confidence in goal:

Jeff Benjamin’s Goalkeeper Coaching Site:

Pilgrim Goalkeeper Coaching:

Some great words of advice and notes of experience. Now go on… believe in yourself!

Confident goalkeeping – There’s a mountain to climb but it’s worth it.

So in previous posts we have looked at bravery, either that of communication or that needed during a game to make that catch surrounded by players and from diving at feet.  As mentioned many times before being brave and confident is hard for any player as there are many things that can affect confidence, as that is the fragility of the mind – that one little thing could be the cause of poor confidence… Or that said, it may be a little thing to you or I but a massive issue to the person in question.

We as coaches train for many different scenarios to help our Goalkeeper students, through practical or fun exercises and confidence building motivational speak. However no coach can predict or prevent what will happen in a Goalkeeper’s mind during a game. Especially in situations where your student Goalkeeper is fetching the ball out of the back of the net on more than one occasion through the match. Couple that with the unforeseen reaction of not only their own but those around them (players and coaches) and there is always the potential that confidence either is or starts to get affected.

We asked our Goalkeepers at the Academy, how they react after a goal goes in the back of the net and we had back some interesting answers. Some punch the floor, some shout and scream at themselves or their players, some just get upset. Let’s face it, it is hard for any Goalkeeper, but more so for a young student Goalkeeper as they want so much to be good at Football! Our Keepers do get upset. We have seen examples, where after say the third goal scored against them, that their heads drop and they are uninterested in the game. Yes, I understand that there could be other factors of heads dropping as I previously explored, but no Goalkeeper really likes to concede a goal. After all look at the reaction of any Goalkeeper out there who keeps a clean sheet, they are on cloud 9…

So it does seem that coaches and Goalkeepers have a mountain to climb when it comes to Goalkeeping confidence, because as already mentioned, the mind is a powerful thing. But don’t get downhearted, this mountain is scalable… Confidence can be affected, but you as Goalkeepers have the power to improve not only your skills but your confidence too (which will lead to you being a better Goalkeeper!). Remember:

  • Conceding goals happens – You can try to save everything, but there are going to be those goals that not even the best goalkeepers in the world can stop;
  • Try and save everything – At least have a go… you may only kick yourself that you didn’t try! You never know you may just actually save it;
  • Focus on developing your skills – don’t focus on keeping a clean sheet (see point 1), focus on, for example, improving your positioning or handling during the game;
  • Set realistic targets – If you say you are going to look at improving handling, don’t set yourself a target to catch every ball, that your handling will be 100% good. Try and set a target based on little improvements;
  • Know what you can improve on – It is good to acknowledge what you need to improve on as you can focus on this and more importantly feed this back to the coach, as they can then devise training sessions to help focus on these improvements;
  • Know what you did well – don’t just focus on improvements, remember to also HIGHLY PRAISE what you did well. It is great to understand what you did well because in each match you will do things right and you must remember to acknowledge it.
  • Ensure you have support – You as a Goalkeeper want to improve and those around you should be encouraging your development (especially if they are following FA standards). If you aren’t don’t be afraid to speak up or seek help. If you have set your sights on improving as a Goalkeeper, I applaud you and want you to achieve your aims of improvement. Please don’t get upset and walk away from something you want to do, get help on it and help to do it better!

Yes confidence is a mountain to climb but you have the ability to climb to the summit. Let me know how you get along on your journey up the rock face! 😉

Confident Goalkeeping – Being brave isn’t easy

Finding your voice in Goalkeeping is difficult as confidence plays a big part. Confidence can also be bravery too. Being not only brave enough to call out, but also being brave against an opposing player, either when they are running at you in one and one situations, or jumping for a ball with players around you, or making that tackle at feet, etc.

image from

It’s hard being brave… it’s a massive psychological hurdle to get over.
Yes they say you have to be mad to be a goalkeeper, especially when you have to dive at feet as you are always scared of getting hurt. Just ask my daughters… The youngest is 8 and she is still wary of diving at feet bur through fun exercises and games to encourage it, she is slowly improving. Whereas my 13 year old does dive at feet bravely. That this weekend she did just that, saved the ball, but has just sprained her ankle in the challenge. That said it hasn’t put her off but for others this can make them wary of making the challenge next time for fear of getting hurt.

The mind is a powerful thing! But as a goalkeeper consider this:

  • Remember outfield players too can be just as scared as you – in fact there is more pressure on them to score in a 1v1 situation as they are expected to beat the keeper. Although actually the odds can usually be in the favour of the Goalkeeper;
  • OK, injuries can happen, not just to goalkeepers but to outfield players too.
  • Often if football is played in the proper environment (such as FA standard) then it should be played to minimise injury anyway;
  • On the ‘rare’ occasion that an injury happens then the necessary help and equipment are there. To get you soon back in action; and
  • If you worried about ‘rare’ injury and wrapped yourself in cotton wool you wouldn’t have so much fun as a Goalkeeper – football should be about fun after all!

“I think you have to be brave, you know that a goalkeeper is always going to take blows. When you dive at someone’s feet, that player doesn’t always have time to jump and they bang into us” – Petr Cech.


So be brave and be strong – remember injuries are actually quite rare and you have coaches there to help you.

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